Huddles are one of my favorite ideas that I like to share. Perhaps you have never heard of a huddle. Imagine a team in a huddle as the coach or head player builds team spirit and camaraderie. Some of my best ideas seem best implemented with accountability. Long ago the idea of not being able to accomplish an important goal without accountability frustrated me. Now I think it is a brilliant tool.
Creating a Club to Accomplish Academic Goals
Perhaps you have been using the idea of huddles without even knowing it. Early in my homeschooling I discovered the Veritas timeline cards for Bible and history. These cards are brilliant. I wanted my children to know the Bible, history, art with the correlating information on these cards. However, there are 160 history cards and 160 Bible cards. As when tackling any other lengthy goal, I divided the cards onto the weeks of school. At home with the cards in front of us I found it easy to linger and chase rabbits when covering this information. Not that digging in deep and lingering is a bad idea but I did want the children to gain all of the information on the entire set of these cards. My solution to picking up the speed was to invite one of my favorite friends, Jennifer Higgins, and her two children to join us in a history club. Somehow calling an academic activity a club appeals to the children. Granted, we always worked crafts and ate really yummy food. Not surprisingly, our children remember the food the most.
Initially, Jennifer and I met for an extended lunch and mapped out the school year. Our plans involved completing 80 cards in the fall and spring semester. By meeting once a month our club convened three times a semester. Club included reviewing the card selected for that month along with a craft or activity appropriate for the history covering in the time prior to club. All “club” meetings involved a snack, of course.
Our students ranged in age from kindergarten through fifth grade. We met on a Friday afternoon once a month. Each of the five participating students brought their presentation on 4 x 6 cards. This speeches included visual aids and posters to explain fair topic. Jennifer and I intended reading a large number of history books listed in the Veritas catalog. This time offered the children an opportunity to complete their reading and prepare a book report. The students read aloud three books a month to themselves. Our families read 1-2 books out loud during family reading time each month.
Fun, Food and Friendship
Today, the two oldest boys are in college. My two youngest boys who were babies sleeping during history club are now finishing elementary school. Students from both families agree that this was one of the best memories of our homeschooling experience. While club time was full of fun, food and friendship as we met at my house together, Jennifer and I were also delighted in meeting our goal of reading through all those timeline cards in the two years we met for club.
Huddles seem to work best with 2 to 4 families who make up groups of 3-8 children. They accomplish great learning together. Programs that compliment this type of experience might be Tapestry of Grace, Mystery of History, a Veritas Press history and Bible timeline card club, a science club, an art class, a chess club, a Lego club, a sewing class, or a a ACT prep class. Imagination is the limit.
Share the Work
Let me give you another idea for a huddle in reference to science. Say you want to study botany one year with your elementary age students. Perhaps you select the botany textbook by Apologia and gather other books on botany. Find a friend or two or three with similar aged children. Map out how you want to cover botany over the semester or school year. Meet every other week to discuss the designated chapters and do experiments together. Team mother could divide the weeks so that the families rotate bringing and demonstrating the science experiments pertinent to the chapters read.
Meeting on an afternoon late in the week ensures that core school work is not interrupted by club time. Perhaps the mother or mothers who are not doing the science experiment can bring the craft or snacks for that club time. Most certainly, your students will work hard to be ready for club time. Your botany book will be read. The science experiments will be done either by you or in a demonstration format. The kids will have playtime with friends. Your goals will be met. Doing a huddle is brilliant in all respects.
Choose Like-Minded Moms
In proposing this idea I must caution you to select a mother who is reliable and like-minded in preparation. If you like to prepare things with great detail, choose a mother who has the same style of schooling. If you desire a more relaxed approach, don’t ask a type A mom to be your partner. If your style is more relaxed, select a mother who matches your pattern of learning. Avoid choosing someone unreliable. Nothing is more frustrating than working with someone who is sloppy, last-minute or cancels on you at the last minute. You will be unhappy. It could even cost your friendship. All things considered, like-mindedness with your fellow huddle members will likely mean a happier overall experience.
Huddle in the Summer
Huddles are excellent for accomplishing summer goals. One of my consistent goals during the summer is to read out-loud to my kids and to have them read to themselves. Sometimes a reading contest or contest can motivate those who are reluctant readers. Usually enthusiastic readers are motivated to read heavily in the summer due to the relaxed schedule and abundance of unstructured time. If you want to add to the motivation to read, consider a book club for your students with a few of their friends. Established goals in reference to reading. Determine rewards. Plan play days or club time for accountability to meet these goals. Think of the perks this activity offers. A book club would be fun during the school year or during summer break. Such a motivation might greatly encourage reluctant readers.
My Friday huddle allows for a three-hour discussion class as we review the assigned reading material for history and literature in our Omnibus class. Our morning begins with exercises in Etymology, followed by an overview of the week’s reading, students essays, and lively discussion. Students love sharing what they have learned, and reading their essays. Accountability pushes us to accomplish great amounts of material. The day is full of interaction, thought-provoking ideas and opinions, snacks, and friendship. So we accomplish our goals together on time and with excellence. Gotta love it!
So in closing if you find yourself struggling to accomplish a goal, consider a huddle. Or if working with accountability sounds like a great way to secure success, think huddle. Pray for the right group to huddle with as you work hard to learn.
Plan ahead. Share the work. Celebrate learning with friends.